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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 2, 2010 7:00am-8:00am EST

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future... future presentations on the library's web site and also joined by c-span today. all things electronic should be turned off, all right? so we can get the best possible broadcast that we can. we also will have a question and answer period, towards the end of the program. and, we hope that you do participate and by participating, though, you also are giving us your permission to use your image and your words, as part of the question and answer exchange. a new feature for the center for the book is a center for the book's facebook books and beyond book club and it is on facebook, this is just started and you can learn more about for the coming talks and see web casts of our talks and even for today's book exchange ideas and comments about it. there is a sheet as you go out, explaining the new facebook, books and beyond book club,
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also, there is a schedule of the for the coming talks in our series. i wish to thank the geography and map division for cosponsoring and helping arrange this wonderful run of talks we're on, about the walled eer mueller map and i'd like to thank john hessler, who will introduce our speaker. john hessler. let's give john a hand. [applause]. >> thank you, john and thank everyone for coming. about four years ago, i gave a lecture on the walter mueller map and i young gentleman came up after the talk and said he was interested in the map and it was a common occurrence after you walk on the map, it is a popular subject and there is lots of interest in it and there
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have been now a total of four books written about the map over the last four years and toby came up and said he was interested in doing an article and maybe a book and, you know, it was a typical thing that usually you never get a contact back from a person who says that at a conference. but, toby e-mailed me and what ensued was, basically, and almost daily correspondence between us it seemed about questions relating to the map and questions started out simplistic, basic sources, what to read, and, over the course of a year, year-and-a-half, the questions began to ramp up. rather quickly. and, toby's questions became complex enough in the end i was struggling to answer them. and, i think he's incorporated -- has incorporated into this book the whole story. a story that has really never been told before in the completeness that this book presents in. the other three books on the
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subject seymour schwartz's, pet peter dixon also in the audience and my book are much more specialized and are much more focused on specific issues and toby's grasps the whole story. he is an editor -- or was for the atlantic monthly and is a correspondent for the boston globe. and has written in the american scholar and many other magazines, and i give you toby lester. [applause]. >> thanks, john and thanks, everybody for coming. i have to say before i start that i really couldn't have written this book without john hessler's help in particular. i don't think there is anybody in the world who knows more about the map than john. i also couldn't have done it without john aber as help, he didn't laugh me out of the room
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when i wandered in and said i didn't know anything about the map or the history about caring tography and i wanted to -- caring to cartography and we had a conversation that made me feel like i could do this. thank you, both, i'm really, really grateful and i feel i have to say i'm grateful for the existence of the library of congress and it is silly to say, but, it is an amazing place, i had never used the library in any serious way before this book and i came away from the experience kind of in awe, in awe of what the library has in its collection, obviously, but, also of the people here in charge of the collections. everybody, to a person, who had any reason to have anything to do with, was amazingly informed and went out of their way to help me and not give me the minimum i looked for but to
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encourage me to tell me about resources i didn't know in the library and that made the book much more than it originally would have been and i'm not sure i wrote the book that they would have written for the kwuj but it is a better book for their help, i thought i would give a slide show, illustrated guide to the map itself and also a guide to a number of the developments in the early mapping of the world, that came together, in the map and made -- gave us a picture of the world roughly as we know it today. so i'm try and give you the sort of micro story of this one map, and then imac crow story, how over the course of centuries, europeans, gradually depicted the map of the world we think of today, qualifier, it is a
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eurocentric story and map and i have to say that because, any time you use the word discover, you almost have to go like this. because europeans of course didn't discover the new world or other parts of the world. but, i tried in this book to immerse myself and readers, in the eurocentric cartographic frame of mind and keep that in mind as we have the conversation going. this, if you don't know is the waldseemuller map and the original is on display in the jefferson building and if you haven't been there to see it, i strongly urge you to see i there is nothing like face time with the real thing, one copy survives in the world and it is this one and it is 8 feet by 4-and-a-half feet and that is a reasonable facsimile of the real thing and may be a little bigger. please go there at some point.
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as john and john suggested i didn't know anything about the map or the history of cartography when i started. in '03 when i was an editor and writer at the "atlantic and boston" opening my mail i came across a press release from the library announcing for $10 million it but america's birth certificate, the waldseemuller map, the map that gave america its name and the $10 million was the most elaborate spent on anything and $2 million more than was recently paid for the original copy of the declaration of independence and that kind of got my attention and i never heard of or saw the map and the library thought it was worth it and the market thought it was worth more than the declaration of independence and i thought maybe i would do an article or short piece for the atlantic. so i did research and got the basics of the story, pretty
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quickly. early in the 1500, the eastern part of france, in the mountains, there was a small group of scholars, among them, the map maker, martin waldseemuller and that he came by letters, and an early sailor's chart showing the coastline of the new world and decided that what they were reading about and seeing on the charts of asia, as most people assumed it was but it was a new continent, people traditionally thought of the world as having three parts, europe, asia and africa. and waldseemuller and his colleagues thought it was the fourth part of the world. sense the title of the book. the -- because they made the decision, that it seemed to represent the fourth part of the world it needed a name, like the other continents had names and came up with the name america.
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and there is a lot more to it and wool get into more of it later but as i looked at the map i learned quickly it also is significant for a lot of other reasons, not just the naming of america. if you look on the left, that is the new world, south america and north america above is is the first map to show north america and south merriman unambiguously surrounded by water, not as an undefined place not identified at all. because, it shows north and south america surrounded by water it is the first map to suggest the existence of the pacific ocean and this is something of a mystery because europeans aren't supposed to have known about the pacific ocean until 1513 when balboa caught sight of it from the mountain. and it is not something i dwell on on the book because i felt the mystery is more fun to leave
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as a mystery than try to resolve. but it is a great part of the story and not the only part of the story. there is more that is very very, significant about the map. look at africa, this is one of the first printed maps to show the full coastlines of africa. africa and -- had only been circumnavigated in 1497 by the portuguese and the frame at the bottom of the map is broken and it would have been easy to push the frame down a little bit. i think the point is clear, it is a break with tradition, new knowledge and is exciting, possibly to a lot of you more exciting than the stuff on the left. people forget that but this is a great discovery, because it means you can sail from europe around africa and into the indian ocean and beyond and beyond that fact, though is the fact the map shows full 360 degrees of longitude, one of the first to do that as well.
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maps prior to this once had tended to leave a sinncertain portion of the globe on the map and the implication was generally that it was just kind uncharted ocean space and you didn't need to try to depict it and here is one of the first pictures of the world, laid out in the full 360 degrees, and what we are seeing, therefore, is a picture of the world, roughly, as we know it today and is not obviously fully correct. distorted and full of misconceptions and deliberately odd juxtapositions, but it is basically a vision of the world that we have been refining ever since, and, that, to me, was really what struck me. this is not just a map announcing the existence of the new world, it is one that is declaring, hey we can now see the whole world for the first time. so, great story. i thought, this will be a great
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article and put clippings in an article folder that i kept and i got sidetracked by other things for a couple of years. and in 2005, when word came down the atlantic was going to be moved from boston to washington did i start to try to think about the map again and i did because, i wanted to make a living in boston and not move to washington. [laughter]. >> excuse me! and when i went back to my article idea folder i had a brilliant idea, i'd write a little book about the making of this map and it would come out in '07, timed perfectly to coincide with the 500th anniversary with the naming of america. and, i barely made to it 2009. [laughter]. >> so, what happened? why did it take so long, the simple answer is i got sucked in and i thought when i came to the map i'd focus on the new world and the naming of america. very quickly, as john suggested
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i started just seeing more and more in the map and feeling as though there was an opportunity to do a much more comprehensive book to survey the map was a whole, and, could be an excuse for doing a kind of geographical and intellectual adventure story with the map kind of as the back drop. so, what struck me most was that it wasn't just one world that is depicted here. it is actually many worlds, and if you change your perspective this way or that it is like a kaleidoscope and you can tease out different stories and collisions of ideas, different mysteries, as well. and i wanted to do something that was sort of complex enough that it would do the map in full justice. even if you have never seen this map before, or don't know maps of this period, it is pretty easy, i think, to see what we're
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looking at. north is at the top and that, it wasn't always necessarily the case, we assume north is always at the top but there were plenty of maps that didn't have north at the top and over here is the east and this is the... up here and what we now call the pacific, china, india, central asia, middle east, europe up here, and africa obviously and then this is the most famous part of the map, north america up here and the gulf of mexico here and the islands of the caribbean and the region columbus explore and the long, long thin land mass is south america. the dominant visual impression you get from looking at the new world is this giant southern place and that is really what was making an impression on europeans in the early days of discovery. it wasn't owe much the westness of the new world, it was
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obviously -- a new route was pioneered across the atlantic and he thought he reached asia and he and everybody thought he confirmed old geographical ideas. south america, which -- america which was written about in the late 1490s and early 1500s extend far into the south, part of the globe people tended to think there wasn't any land in and that made a big impression and we'll get back to that in a minute. what dominates the map then is the southern part and that is why the cartographer, but the word america on it and the word america is here and on what today won considered brazil, the first use of the word and the guys made up the name and put it
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on the map. as i said there is more to the map, and for a general reader, somebody like me, reasonably well informed and didn't know anything about the map or the history of early world mapping, would read and learn as much as possible from and wanted to make it a kind of gripping narrative read and didn't want it to be a survey of scholarship and i didn't want it to be strictly cartographical study and tried to bring in as many people and as many ideas and different stories as possible, the way i came up with for organizing that was to use this map as the guide and the back drop. the book is organized into chapters that move all over the map, each chapter starts with a little detail from part of the map and starts in the 1200s in england at the went edge of the
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known world at the time, and then, gradually, moves across the map, through geography and through history, as europeans gradually make their way out to sent tram asia and into china. comes back to europe and then moves down along the coast of africa and, eventually moves across the atlantic and over to the new world. the kind of cheesy idea i had at the beginning of each chapter was that each of these little details from the map would be like what you have in some of the disney cartoons where you see, prince charming on a horse and it is a static picture and the camera zooms in and he's galloping around and the story starts going and that this is idea i wanted to create, for each chapter, you zoom in on one part of the map and the stories would come to life. when you look at it that way, what it allows is a kind of epic saga, rather than just the story of how this map in particular was made. it instead becomes a kind of grand story of how merchants and
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religious figures, and scholarly thinkers and others often accidentally are gradually learning about the world, bringing news back to home, feeding it into others who put it on their maps and, over time, you get... almost like rubbing a coin or something. you start see edges and you don't know what they are and gradually the whole thing comes into relief and you see a picture of the whole. that is also the effect i wanted to create in doing the book, and i hope that when you are reading the book you get the feeling that you are moving along with these people, trying to figure out what the world looks like and you don't know. it is easy now to know what the world looks like and sort of make fun of these often weird-looking maps, for being so wrong. but, when you really don't know, there are all sorts of guesses that aren't necessarily illogical. so, i thought, to start with, we
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backed away up and put the map into almost cosmic context. which is something that people who are looking at the map might well have done, the title of the map is a universal cosmographs, which is not a look at the bored in isolation, the way you may look at the world in sige isola and it is as the world would be imagined in antiquity and in the middle ages and this basics idea of the cosmos in the late middle ages was something like this. the earth was a sphere. the idea that people before columbus thought the world was flat is a mate that actually was largely created by washington irving in the 19th century, wrote a biography of columbus and played it up because he was a good fiction writer as well. people new the world was round
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and knew the world was round for centuries, even millennia and imagined that the earth was a sphere, unmoving at the center of the cosmos and it was at the center of a whole collection of concentric spheres, each of whip had a celestial body attached to it and so there was a sphere of the moon and a sphere of the sun and all the planets and outside, there was one sphere that held the stores and they rotated around the world in their own way and that created the motions that you see in the heavens when you look up. it is -- it wasn't a bad way of explaining how everything appeared to move, if you assumed the earth just sat still. and that is what we're looking at here, you have the earth at the center and then a lot of the different spheres of the elements and the planets, going out. you see this kind of diagram all the time, in medieval texts and at the center the earth itself is broken up into three parts,
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asia at the top, europe and africa beneath. and this is a diagram you see a lot of in the middle ages, especially, probably dates back to antiquity and usually called a t-0 map, the "o" this is water that surrounds the known world and is this oh, if you think about it, surrounds europe, asia and africa as a contiguous land mass, and the "t" in the middle of the circle also represents bodies of water. the stem of the "t" separating europe and africa as the mediterranean and the top parts of the "t" represent different rivers that were believed to separate africa from asia and europe from asia. so, "t-o" maps you see a lot of and no one predicted it was an accurate picture but was a useful way of conveying what the known world was and there were variations on the theme. and this is one of them. it is a little harder to make sense of but the top circle is
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this standard "t-o" world and the part with the text is asia, europe and africa and the circle around it is the ocean and there is the curious semi circle beneath, and that is a theoretical fourth part of the world and is a 10th century map and i'm not claiming that it reflects any kind of knowledge of the americas or any actual discoveries, but, it is just here to make the point that there were plenty of people from hundreds of years prior to columbus, who were theorizing about the existence of some kind of land across the ocean, that possibly was inaccessible and uninhabited, who knew. but maybe it was out there. it was a funny scheme of things but if you rotate it the world as we know it kind of comes into focus on the right-hand side in the east and now you have asia, europe and africa in the middle and across what we'd call the atlantic now is a fourth part of
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the world. so, given my book's title, keep that in mind. that variation isn't one you see as often as the other model and by the madal ages, christian thinkers were taking over the map and were starting to use it for symbolic purposes and this is christ crucified on top of the t-0 map and the symbolism is great and the "t" represented the bodies of water keeping the continents apart is now the cross that is supposedly bringing the whole world together and the maps are used as a political symbol and this is the holy roman emperor frederick the first, in the standard pose of holding the globe and concepter and it is
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broken in to the t-o map and you can go into ka theede dras and sometimes see the t-0 maps and the symbolism here is potent and here is a monarch who aspires to extend his reach around the entire globe. so religious and political symbolism came together in the late middle ages, especially the 1300s in a series of pretty lavish grand maps of the world like this one, and they are often called mapimundi, latin for maps of the world and contain the elements we have talked about and the circle here is a "to" map and the green is this circle surrounding the known world an asia the top half and the bottom separated are europe tloeveon the left an afr the right and if you look at the top of the map in particular we have a lot of the symbolism and
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christ is hovering are buff the world in a divine way and the message is clearly, only a divine figure who can look down at the earth and take the who'll thing in, see all of human space and all of human time, maps in the middle ages especially were not just limited to the geographical dimension and were also supposed to convey an idea of time and history and there are references to histories in the middle ages, being called maps, and references to maps in the middle ages being called histories and the line between those things was fuzzier than now. this is the east and we are dealing with a "to" kind of structure and under christ is the rising sun sticking out its tongue and under that are adam and eve and that is the temporal dimension of this story, here's the beginning of human history in the east and will gradually
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march its way across the map and you can spend hours talking about this kind of map and i will not do it now, but, once you know some of this you can make out a lot of the world as we know it now, but it's a fuzzy, fuzzy picture. at the same time this map was made, another map was coming into its own, sailors' charts and if you spent time looking at maps like this and then you see a sailor's chart it is almost like you put glasses on and things suddenly snap into focus and you see the world a lot more as we know it today. this is not a sailor's chart actually the sailors would have used. this is an ornamental copy of a chart based on a sailor's chart, given to a king, but i've chosen it because it is so -- clearly shows you the characteristic features of sailor's charts. there are three main ones and one it shows the mediterranean basin.
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used by sailors who wanted to go to italy and north africa and the holy land and sailing into the atlantic and up the eastern seaboard there. -- sorry, the western seaboard. and the second trait of the maps, they are crisscrossed of the lines radiating out, and those are rum lines and they were designed to help sailors plot their course from place-to-place and seems obvious now but the compass, at this point, was relatively new arrival in europe and allowed people to sail over open water more than they had been able to prior. and the third feature of this kind of map is that where the actual jie graphical information resides, primarily, is along the coast -- geographical information resides, primarily is along the coast and you see place names that run perpendicular to the coast and change direction as the coast does and that is what sailors were most interested in, finding
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safe harbors to sail in and knowing what towns they could safely pass by, that kind of thing, and you can get a better sense of what they would have been using if you look at the library of congress's own sailors charts, a very rare and early one and is a lot more like what sailors might have been using and is a picture of the mediterranean basin, too, and if you zero in on italy in particular you can see the place names are pretty much defining the coastline and there is nothing in the interior and sailors didn't care about what was in the interior. what i loved learning about in this particular context is that prior to the emergence of this kind of map, europeans didn't talk about italy as a boot and we thing of it as a bad now, but, in ancient times and the milled ages, described it as an oak leaf and only when these maps emerge that you year descriptions of it as a boot and once people see europe as a boot, you start to have people using that as a symbol.
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and a poet and geographer has lines about seeing italy, and as a boot poised to crush the greek lanes and didn't like the eastern christians and imagines the boot is about to crush the peoples to the east and not just the greek christians and muslims, of course in the context of the crusades and a new way of mapping the world will lead you to new ideas about what your role in the world is and how you might take control of the world. that is a subtext that runs through a lot of this story. these were such obviously fun maps, they quickly became maps that weren't just made for sailors and you get counties like that, that were ornamental and rich, powerful people would want copies of and the big disadvantage of this kind of map is that it doesn't account for the current curvature of the earth and the mediterranean
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basin is only a mall part of the globe and it doesn't matter that it doesn't account for the serb tour of the ice but they are based on sight lines and sailors book here to there and put it on their chart and over there, they go to the next point and the farther do you that, the less accurate the whole picture is going to be. this kind of map, although people did try to map more and more of the world, was not a practically useful tool for navigating over long, expanses of ocean, for example. but, at the very time that the map was made, another kind of map was about to reemerge in europe. and these were the long lost maps of the ancient greek geographer and astronomer, thomas ptholomei, in the second century he wrote a book called "the geography" and described
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how to map the world in the way we usually think about the world being mapped today, latitude and longitude. and, the principle was simple. that he laid out, you would determine your latitude and longtude and then, he taught readers how to construct mathematical grids to account for the curvature of the earth and allow you to take a round ball and spread it out and make it into a flat map. you would first take your bearings, in the heavens, particularly the pole star and determine your latitude and then distance measurements and even some celestial measurements and figure out what your longitude might be and longitude of course was noer toious -- notoriously figure out and then you take your line of latitude and longitude and create a point that you could say is a city, for example, once you had your points, you would plot them on one of his grids, and this is his second projection and he
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laid out three in the geography and once you have lots of points on your map you can assemble a picture of the whole world and he recorded about 8,000 geographical coordinates in the geography. his book, the book was lost not long after he died, probably, at least to europe, and, it was about a thousand years before it was rediscovered and when it was rediscovered there were no maps, he probably made maps with the original but we don't know and even if he did they are all lost and it didn't mary, though, because when the book was rediscovered, scholars who read it had,000 geographical coordinates an instruction how to make map projections and all they had to do was construct projections and connect the dots and color it in and you get this picture of the world and this is a typical map of the world, and these were popular in the 15th century and you see them a lot
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and what we are looking at here, northern africa, europe up here, the middle east here and here, moving toward china and he does end at the pacific, he stops far before thatnd connects asia over here beneath the indian ocean with africa and that is very significant and means the indian ocean is a closed body of water and from a european perspective that is depressing because you cannot sail from spain for example around africa and into the indian ocean. gold and spices were traveling from the far east, over land, through muslim occupied territories to europe, and europeans were keen to eliminate the middleman and the idea of sailing around into the indian ocean was an appealing one and that kind of map suggests that you cannot do that. but, he was not saying in these maps that he was showing anybody the whole world, he was showing them the world as he knew it and
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ptholomei he encouraged them to explore his world more fully and updated the maps and after they discovered him started to do in earnest and revisited accounts of travels to the far east, especially marco polo's book and constructed a hypothetical vision of the far east and also, significantly, began sailing south along the west coast of africa. and in 1489 made it to the southern tip and raised hopes they could sane to the indian ocean and that is why we have the cape of good hope, all of a sudden it seemed it might be possible to bypass the middleman, to not go over land, through hostile territory and establish direct trade relations with the far east. and the portuguese reached the cape of good hope in 1490 and not long after that you start to see maps like this one, which is a little hard to see, not a well preserved copy, not the slide
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but this is a very important map to look at for a minute. the map at its core is a sort of standard ptholemeic few of the vorld and it is a hospital based on the travels of marco polo and others and the first time you can see a depiction of japan which marco polo described at some length. and you have this kind of weird southward extending big peninsula, that sometimes is called the dragon's tail and it doesn't connect to africa, the indian ocean is open, coming from the far east and also coming around africa on the other side, and here we have the frame of the map broken again to announce this is a really important discovery, now you can see it might be possible to sail around africa into the in yearn ocean and over to the far east. that said, that map is made in 1490 or so, which is around the time columbus is on the verge of making his voyage and you can
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see what gave columbus the idea that he had, the idea of sailing around africa, all the way south like this, and the continent is the latitude nal extent of the continent is examining rantd goes a lot farther south than africa does, suggesting it is a harder voyage than it is but to sail from over here all the way down, under here and uncertain territory and across this indian ocean and to the far east was daunting to say the least. on the other hand there is 90 degrees of ocean implied on the back of the map and columbus thinking i could go around africa and never make it or sail around the back of the map starts to think it might be possible. and when he did it, he thought he'd pretty much confirmed the vision of geography you see on the map.
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he sailed 90 degrees and bumped into big islands, cuba, haiti, and he found a lot of other, smaller islands, the bahamas and islands of the caribbean and eventually bumped into a big, evidently a continent, south america and he thought he was bumping into those islands and that continent and it is easy to make fun of him to think he reached the indies but it is a logical conclusion to come to. he convinced himself that he was in the far east, in the indies, which is why we have the name "indians" and spent most of his time in the caribbean and didn't go far south but vespucci did and in the late 1490s and early 1500s, made voyages to the caribbean and the regions columbus visited and then sailed especially on one voyage, very, very, very far south and, entered an area like i said
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earlier nobody put a continent on before. thousands of miles below the equator where most people assumed there was only water. and vespucci talked about the giant new plates as asian land and -- place as asian land and people think he was announcing that to the world but he makes reference to it as asia and talks about wanting to find the way around the tip of the land and reach the indian ocean and thought he was on the verge of doing that but sailed far enough south along the continent and decided this was an entirely new part of asia than europeans had not visited before and wrote letters home, making that point. one of those letters was published under the title, "new world." and that phrase today we apply uniquely to the americas. but, at the time, europeans were calling newly discovered parts of africa, new world, newly
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discovered parts of asia, new world, so vespucci's letter calling south america a new world doesn't mean he recognized it was a new continent. what he came back with, was not only verbal descriptions of this new world, but, also charts that looked a lot like this one. the number of early sailors charts of the new world survived and this is one of the earliest and shows, again, the dominant southern land mass, here, here is north america and islands of the craribbean and the coastlin of what we now know is south america and is a hulking kind of monster and what is significant is the continent is clearly only explored up to a spoirnt, and, left implied there is probably more of it but, already extends farther south than the tip of africa and is a giant, strange place.
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this kind of map and his letters began circulating in europe and in the early 1500s and he quickly became a celebrity explore and was much more famous than columbus and columbus again confirmed what everybody kind of thought the world already looked ike and vespucci says here is something pretty new and at least one chart like this and letters made it in the early 1500s to a little town in the mountains of eastern france, and not far from strassberg in the border with germany stalled saint-die and, among them were scholars bourqworking on maps a decided, that what vespucci explored and described was not part of asia but was -- a correspondent to the hypothetical fourth part of the world people speculated about
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and, therefore, decided to expand the maps to produce a map of the whole world that included the new place and they'd name it after america vespucci and call it america and i went there myself and it is uninteresting and modern but outside of saint-die the countryside is like this and it is fun to think of them in the context, far away from spain and portugal where all the excitement of discovery is happening, in these quiet hills, putting together the first pictures of the world as we know it and this is the mountain top outside of saint-die and my unprovable theory is that he and his colleagues probably hiengd to the mountains and took in the views and had a kind of long view and i think is hard not to feel that this kind of vista would have appealed to them. we know their story, because when they decided to make the map they decided to publish a
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book, a companion volume to the map and calmed it the introduction to cosmograhy, the title page, and much of the book was a standard recitation of what the cosmos is like and how to do geography and study geometry, but, at the end of the book, after they described the three known parts of the world, they announced the discovery of a fourth part of the world, it is court quoting, these parts, they say, referring back to europe, africa and asia have been more widely explored and the fourth part has been discovered by vespucci and i do not see why anyone should rightly prevent this new part from being called america, after its discoverer. there is the record of how america got its name, and this book, though is a companion to the map itself. and, now, for the last couple of minutes i thought i would zero in on different parts of the map and show you how he brought together a lot of the different piece we have been talking about
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in the show up to here. if you look at the center of the map and compare it to ptolomi, you will see they are similar and zero in on the central parts and it is basic atoll mayic world and the world, and these are ancient place names and he knew north africa didn't look like that and parts of europe didn't look like that but wanted to stay true to ptolomei and it is worth thinking about the map, not a map of space but time. and this is way of looking at the sin shent as well as the modern world which is useful in the early renaissance when people are learning more and more about when the ancients had written. it will be useful to know ancient place names if you are studying homer or virgil or somebody than to know modern place names and that was very important but is and expanded
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version of the ptolomaic map and if you zero in on the far east, especially, the depiction of japan and the coast of china and india is very, very similar and not to say it is a direct borrowing from the one particular map but there is a clear and obvious similarity there. when it came to africa, he turned to sailors charts and probably like this one, and, if you look at the coast of africa, in particular, you can see that although, he was making a ptolomaic map, when it comes to western and southern parts of the coastline he's doing it in the style of sailors charts and has lace names running along the coast and you can see how similar that style is, when compared to a sailors charts and when it came to the new world he only had sailors charts to rely on and borrowed from maps like this and these depictions don't look-alike at first glance but
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keep in mind the map is a projection and accounts for the curvature of the earth and is warped and distorted and zero in on north america and put it side by side with the north america you see on that map and rotate it so it corresponds you can see how it corresponds. and in the introduction to coz mogg gooraphy he talks about us the sailors charts and no doubt he did and it is universal cosmograhy and calls to mind the medieval visions of the world as a whole with the difference being the middle ages, usually what you find they're divine figures hovering above the world and they are the only ones who can take in everything, all of time, all of space, and, see where everything is headed. and i am convinced that
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walledsseemuller was -- when you look at the top of the map, what you see are ptolomei on the left and vespuchi on the ride and they are gazing at the world as a whole and something nobody saw before but the message is one that is of the renaissance and that we humans can do it. and he's on the left epitomizing the learning of the ancient, resuscitated in the early renaissance and he's looking out at the half of the world that he mapped and ves pucci on the right is epitomizing the learning of humanists and the brave explorations of the explorers and looking out at the new world and by "new world," it is not just north and south america it is parts of asia, that he had not mapped and together they are presenting a vision of the world as a whole. and, the achievement was kind of remarkable, a stitching-together of all sorts of different kinds of maps, you have the basic idea
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of a three-part world, and you've got that three-part world mapped in the way tol laem -- ptolomei mapped it and the overlay, looking down at the whole thing and the expanded world of him in the the east and the south, reflecting modern discoveries, you have africa and the americas mapped according to what is on the most recent sailors charts and then you have the general idea of kind of a hospital fourth part of the world, and what walledseemuller and his colleagues did was stitch it together into this really, really cool map! [laughter]. >> so, thank you very much. [applause]. >> i often wondered why this -- vespuchi is on the right
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overlooking the old world and we have the other side, ptolomei -- why are they super imposed at the top? >> i'm not sure i understand, why are they -- >> why, why wouldn't you put ptolomei on this right-hand side to correspond with what is down in his part of the world, and then move walledsseemuller over so he's over the americas. >> well, vespuchi is overlooking the americas, and i guess he is on the left looking that way, because, to have him... everybody familiar with this kind of map would have been familiar with maps that began on the left with europe and africa, our idea now that the new world is over on the left, on the bottom here, is a denver way of doing it. and one of walledsseemuller's collaborators in one of his
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poems, talks about looking down at the world and seeing the new place on the right. and, for a while i couldn't figure out what he was talking about and if you imagine this is the beginning of the world, and the new world is actually over there on the right. and, something like that is going on. >> that is really interesting. >> i read that ptolomei and his predecessors thought land masses had to be balanced, and you hear about the southern continent and the depiction there. and that is certainly well after this, would make a southern continent down there. why weren't they tempted, if they only had the east coast there, to just assume it was attached to a massive land mass and actually put a west coast on there and have an open ocean. >> i don't know. i mean, there are plenty of maps that have a kind of totally speculative southern land mass down there. it may have been they just didn't feel comfortable doing it and may have been simply that it
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looked good the way it was. i don't know. this corresponds, if you look back at the sailors charts they were borrowing from, it is pretty much there. so it may have been they were just adhering to the model they had and were not trying to add a lot to it. but, i don't know that anybody really could say for sure. >> adding to that, i mean, i know it is questionable that the map was really made in 1507, because the existence of the pacific was not known at that time and it is remarkable, the west coast of south america has been drawn, because that is not too farfetched from the... from reality. do we have any clue what he based on ideas on when he drew the west coast of the americas. >> there are lots of speculations, if we can go back for a minute to the... this chart. sorry about this.
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waldseemuller was borrowing from a map that was a loot like this one and when what he did is not unlike this and you have a continent that bends and comes down and the map maker was not saying there was ocean, it was, the sailors only mapped this part of the coast and had to do something on this side and put trees and... [laughter]. >> and, it may be that they followed the general model and you have a nice bend here, where south america bends, and, if you warp it the way you would i it like what he did and maybe you are doing nothing more than following this, on waldseemuller's south america, you see he has topography and up here you have straight lines and that corresponds to this, too. if you -- now i have to do all of the... i had too much fun
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doing these. transitions. so, up here, we have straight lines, labeled unknown land. and down here, there is an artist's fans if recreation of mountains and things, which some people think reflects knowledge of the andes and it is impossible to say that that is not true but it is also possible to say they saw the charts like the ones we were looking at and the artist sort of did something similar. >> can you help me out with the application of -- i had thought that longitude could not be determined until later than, later or something. how did they get longitude? >> well, they got it wrong. they didn't do a very good job of it, and, they could dead reckon when they were sailing and people like columbus were actually very, very good at coming up with a rough distance longitudinal distance sailed
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over open water. a lot better than we give them credit for now, but it doesn't mean they were accurate. >> but, similar -- could, somehow -- >> no, because in order to do that you had to have a clock on board and, you know this, whole longitude story and you couldn't have an accurate clock on board, and vespuchi at one point, either ves pucci or somebody who doctored his letters, claimed to have been able to figure out longitude by doing complicated celestial observations, and most people think that he probably didn't, and that either he was making it up or somebody made it up in his name to kind of make his letterers even more sensational than they were. >> since these folks were working in a very small town, is there any indication where they got their information from? and what maps were available to them? when they actually drew this,
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was the contino map available to them or... >> the contino map in particular was in italy, not that far away and matias ringman traveled with him to italy, and it is possible he made his way to the map and there were others circulating as well and the duke of lorraine, renee, is said to have received maps, from portugal and it is hard to unpack the stories and know what is what but a lot of dukes in europe had agents on the iberian peninsula who were interested in getting maps and they wanted as much new information as they could because it was a business opportunity. so, these maps were making their way to italy, and, somehow or another, a copy or more made it to saint-die and though it was out of the way it was at a
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crossroads an strassberg was a nexus of all sorts of information. >> a little bit how it -- could you say how it took so long to get to the library of congress? how did it get here. >> that is also a great part of the story. thank you. he is my agent! the map was -- supposedly there were a thousand copies printed and they quickly disappeared. luckily, one survived, because it was bound into a book, and, the book, the book turns out to be one of the best ways of all to preserve paper. and, this book ended up sitting in a library in a minor german castle in the south of germany for a couple hundred years, forgotten and 1901:a jesuit priest, father fisher went to do research at the castle looking for something else else and stomach badly across t-- stumbls
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the map and he knew enough to recognize it must be the waldseemuller map and within a year, "the new york times" headlined, long last map, thought to be lost, has been found again and then we had warm world war i and world war ii and the relationships with the u.s. and germany weren't good and the map stayed in germany, and staff of the library of congress can tell you better the blow by blow how the map ultimately came back here. i believe it started in the late '80s or early '90s and maybe somebody can help me out and there were long and i think complicated negotiations, that there was a member of the library of congress staff, margaret crousson, is that how you pronounce her name, instrumental in negotiating with the german government and the prince who owned the map and finally arrived at this price and i think in 2001 agreed and
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then, 2003 it was finally purchased. so... >> i'll intervene here, we are running out of time and i know toby is here also to sign for his book. first, just to clarify slightly, he's absolutely right on how it came here, but, perhaps a little bit more complicated but i want to indicate one thing and that is that the portfolio in which the item appeared is also here. in the library of congress. when we acquired the original 1507 map, the prince sold it to us separately. as if it would be out of the portfolio and so the whole world of cartographic scholarship was furious that this would take place and so i gentleman by the name of jay kisslack was brought into the discussion and he acquired the rest of the portfolio, and at the time, we would negotiate with jay, over
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his collection of materials and mayan and aztec materials also coming to the library of congress and we had a great coming of minds together at that point in time and jay purchased the other piece. and it is also here at the library of congress if you go to the jefferson building you can see not the only 1507 map but the copy of the 15 -- contomorina and the map you have in front of you and we are happy we didn't lose the historical object and it is now here hopefully to be studied and worked on, as toby has done, and peter and john hessler has done and other people, we think even more work is yet to be done on this wonderful piece but before i say anything more, let's congratulate toby on hi tree -- tremendously impressive publication [applause]. >> and since this is an office
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session toby is outside helping you acquire some of his products, right? [laughter]. >> thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]:


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